If you have not heard Mel Robbins speak or read any of her stuff, you are missing out. She has a great personal story to tell, and has been able to influence a lot of people with her wisdom. I follow her on Instagram, and this post came through the other day. I did a screen shot so I would remember to share this thought with others.
Everyone of us has a mountain to scale; for some it is due to being born poor, or in a third world country. For others it is skin color, heritage, or a myriad of other obstacles. As odd as it may sounds, for some being born into a rich family is the obstacle. Trading off of the family name, not having an appreciation for earning your place, for growing a company from scratch, etc. become a hurdle to self actualization. I loved Mel Robbin’s quote because it covered all bases and can apply to anyone.
If there is one thing in life that I think everyone should strive for, it is SELF IMPROVEMENT. There is no greater gift to give yourself, your parents, and the world than to maximize your potential as a human being. The great thing is, the means in which you choose to pursue this personal growth and development is totally up to you. I chose racquetball as the vehicle for me to learn more about myself, to grow as a person, and then to share those life experiences with others. I no longer identify myself as a Pro Racquetball player as I once did. I evolved past this being my identity, realizing that there was more to me, and that I needed to have a bigger contribution during my time on the planet than just hitting technically perfect backhands. ;-)
My obstacles were unique to me, but not that different from many others. I was born into a middle class family, lived on a small farm in rural PA until age 12 when I moved to Phoenix. I don’t remember wanting for much as a kid, but I know there were times when we struggled financially. I played little league baseball as a kid, and I entertained the notion of being a pro baseball player in those days. Before long I realized that I didn’t have the physical requirements that are common to most MLB guys, and I wasn’t an exceptional talent that would have allowed me to still make it to that level. My Dad was a great wrestler in high school and beyond, and that seemed to be a path I could pursue to at least get to college on a scholarship. An injury at the beginning of my freshman year in high school put an abrupt end to that. Afterwards I discovered racquetball, and the rest, as they say, is history. If you are not familiar with this story, you can read about it in more detail here….here….and here.
The mountain I chose to climb was the best decision I ever made. It was the most difficult thing I have done over the long haul, that is for sure. But the struggles, the failures, the embarrassing situations, and a few victories sprinkled in here and there is what made it worth while. I LEARNED…the hard way, through experience, trial and error, that as long as I didn’t give in or give up, I still had a shot. I kept grinding, kept pursuing the one thing I was sure about in my life. I knew, to the core of my being, that I could make it to the Top 20 in the world. I didn’t think I would be or even could be number 1, but I felt like the the Top 20 was attainable. And so I kept grinding until I hit the mark.
As it turns out, the lessons learned along that journey were very important to LIFE, not just my racquetball career. I am still a work in progress like everyone else is, but I am convinced that this journey accelerated my personal growth, and at age 50 I find myself in position to serve others much more effectively because of this. Looking back, I know that if I would have waited until I was ready, it would have been too late. Mel’s book The 5 Second Rule talks about this exact thing, and her personal story covers a lot of the same things that I could identify with, even though her story is totally different than mine. As the 5th most read book on Amazon in 2017, she obviously struck a cord with lots of people.
“That moment of hesitation is a killer. Hesitation sends a stress signal to your brain. It’s a red flag that signals something’s wrong — and your brain goes into protection mode. This is how we are wired to fail.” — Mel Robbins
Hesitation will definitely kill your ambitions. There is no doubt that waiting until you are ready to do most things is far too late. I had no clue how I was going to reach the top level, have enough money to travel around the country competing, etc., but I started anyway. I don’t recall having the thoughts in my head looking that far in advance, but rather I just trusted myself to figure it out along the way. I had tons of help in the process, and that was critical to achieving my goals as well. But the key was I didn’t hestitate, I TOOK ACTION. I took the first step, and then another and another.
If there is one thing I wish for you, and for everyone, it is that you find your thing to pursue, and that you take that first step. And by all means, pay attention to the journey itself. Be sure to get the lessons out of the process that need to be learned. THIS IS THE PATH TO GROWTH. There is no faster, better way to get to the better version of yourself than to undertake a journey of monumental proportion and deal with all that goes along with it.
To recap my and Mel’s thoughts:
- Each of us has a mountain to climb. How far up you go is largely up to you
- In my opinion, self growth and improvement should be a main priority for everyone
- Your job, your income, your hobbies and all the rest are just parts of you as a while. None of them are the definition of you as a whole.
- The climb is going to be difficult. It needs to be, as this is how you learn. You try, fail, learn and try again. That is the equation for success in a nutshell.
- Hesitation kills your ambitions, dreams and goals. Take action as soon as possible
I wish you luck in your endeavors.